|SWFA SS 1-4x24 in their SSALT mount.|
And with that said, let's get into it by talking about all of the parts as a whole, rather than the optic alone. I think the do-all gun is highly sought after, but difficult to achieve. However, with the 5.56 AR platform the main outer boundary seems to only be the cartridge's effective range. Its lethality has throughout history come into question as well, and many alternatives have come and gone, but I'm personally past that and I define do-all as general purpose, or multipurpose, in a less literal sense. Why? Because I think that is what the 5.56 AR carbine essentially is and always was. Undoubtedly a better, more multipurpose gun and cartridge could be made, but it won't be without significant alteration to the rifle and cartridge - a complete system, one made specifically for the other. So general purpose takes on new meaning for me as a civilian. What all can I get from one gun for my money? Can I hunt? Can I do some precision shooting? Can I put it into some action shooting? Can I use it in a defensive role? So today, we're talking about the precision aspect, and where a rifle might begin to take on a niche role at the expensive of versatility.
|All 55gr FMJ, except the Colt brand in 62gr.|
I don't have any experience with $1,000 glass, so all I can say is, looking through this optic is like looking through air. Bright surfaces in bright sunlight seemed equally bright through the scope as if the light were passing perfectly and completely through the glass. Nothing seemed lost. The eye relief is forgiving and while wearing prescription glasses always seems to be an obstacle with optics, it was less so in this case. Each time I look through a more affordable optic that has a reputation for having good clarity for the price, I wonder what else could I possibly need in that department, and the SWFA is another one of those. The reticle is sharp as a razor. I have begun to get the impression that the batteries included with these types of optics are half dead right out of the package, but the illumination wasn't visible during the times the sun actually reared its head today. I may pick up a fresh battery to try in it, but the illumination isn't an overwhelmingly significant feature for this sort of shooting.
|L-R, Tula, Colt, Perfecta, Winchester, AE, ZQI|
|This image was an attempt to depict the group size - about 3/4 inch for each 3 shot group.|
|I added a target and shot 5 rounds of ZQI. Probably illustrates shooter ability more than ammunition consistency.|
In conclusion, I think it's worth circling back to precision at the expense of versatility. It's well known that the Stoner rifle has an inherent accuracy factor so it's not as if we're seeing something unusual in my results. I learned a little something about my own setup, its accuracy potential and how less expensive ammunition performs in it. I think it illustrates how multipurpose the AR rifle is. A precision barrel, internal components and optic with greater magnification might yield much more impressive results but it likely would come at the expense of versatility, particularly where the optic is concerned.